Concept of the Month -- June 2004

The Criminal's Anger Results from Fear

The criminal is chronically angry at a world that does not fall in line with his unrealistic expectations and pretensions. The anger may not be visible, but it is present. The offender's anger arises from the fear of not being in control, control being paramount to his self-esteem. In fact, his anger boils up when he wants to prove he is someone, a person to be reckoned with. It is in the service of reasserting control.

When an offender is angry, a proper focus by the agent of change is to explore what he is afraid of. Ventilation of anger is to be discouraged, as injury will invariably result. A far more constructive objective is reduction of, if not elimination, of anger. If the offender thinks realistically, he will not expect to control other people. Consequently, he will not become angry when they behave in ways that he deems undesirable.

Stanton E. Samenow

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